You guys, the world is full of strife and hardship. Our political system is broken; student loan debt is crushing an entire generation; many people are unable to afford to live on the wages they are being paid.
I would like to do something to help, but I don’t know what. I am only one woman, I say, head in hands. What kind of change can I affect that will make a lasting impact on society.
Honestly, the answer is probably none. Except to give everyone the gift of my 1997 senior picture:
My junior and senior years of high school, I worked at the Aurora Public Library as a page, which meant my job was reshelving books and desperately trying not to notice my classmates making out in the stacks. A few of the librarians had children who were in my graduating class, so when they gave me the name of the photographer they were using for their student photos, I accepted it blindly. What could go wrong at a place called Bear’s Photosorcery?
Bear, it turned out, made his living primarily by photographing bikers. Sure, he had the standard Lean Jauntily Against This Pole With Your Letter Jacket Thrown Casually Over Your Shoulder set, and the It’s Just Me, Chillin’ On Some Steps set. But he also had a real, taxidermied lioness. And I have no idea how anyone could pass up the chance to be photographed with a dead lion, so I went for it.
There are just so many things that make this picture great. The dead lion, of course. But also the white knit pants with sewn-in pleats and cuffs. The disembodied floating head. The plastic toddler barrette nestled comfortably in the floss-like cocoon of my hair. The smirk that radiates, even now, nearly twenty years later, the obvious knowledge that I look super badass.
Sadly, when it came time to submit the photo that actually went into the yearbook, full body shots were not permitted, so I had to go with something more conventional and less dead lion-y. But you can bet that when it came time to choose the prints that would be passed out, trading card style, to all of my classmates, this is the one I chose.
I can only hope that every once in awhile, a member of the Aurora High School graduating class of 1997 stumbles upon this bad boy and marvels at its awesomeness. And now I share it with the world, in the hopes that it can bring joy to a world too crowded with confusion and doubt.
I’m also sort of hoping to spark a comeback for those pants. Those things were comfy as fuck.